Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame the Bugs

Go ahead, make your jokes about how much the Yankees' loss to the Indians is "bugging" me. But I am now old enough and mature enough of a Yankee fan to not blame the bugs.

Well, maybe I'm not enough of a Cub fan to blame the natural, or the supernatural.

At any rate, I cease my grumbling over another bad Yankee postseason loss to present to you...

The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame the Lake Erie Midges for the Yankees Losing the 2007 American League Division Series

5. Fausto Carmona. The Indians' Game 2 starter had to pitch through the same swarm that Joba Chamberlain did, and was fine.

4. Chien-Ming Wang. He had nothing in either Game 1 or Game 4. He won 19 games for the 2nd year in a row, but the Sinker of Doom sank the Yankees this time.

3. Joe Torre. He should have started Andy Pettitte in Game 1 instead of Game 2, Phil Hughes in Game 2 instead of Pettitte, Wang in Game 3 instead of Roger Clemens, and Mike Mussina instead of Wang in Game 4.

And he should have told crew chief Bruce Froemming -- not just the longest-serving umpire ever, but possibly the worst -- that, because of the bugs, the field was unplayable and the game should be stopped until the bugs left, and that if Froemming wouldn't stop the game, he'd take the Yankees off the field, and, if forfeited, protest to the Commissioner. You know, the kind of thing Billy Martin would have done.

If this was his last series as Yankee manager -- and I'm still not ready to say that it should be -- he did not go out on anything resembling a high note. At least he went out better than, say, Roger Clemens. Or Tom Glavine.

2. The Yankee Bats. They got next to nothing in Game 1 and Game 2, and came up a day late and a dollar short in Game 4. Really, all they needed to do was get one more run in Game 2, and they would've been tied a game apiece going into Game 3. And then they would've been up 2 games to 1 going into Game 4. And then maybe the momentum would've been on their side, and then maybe we would be having Pettitte starting Game 1 at Fenway Park on Friday night.

1. The Indians Were Better. They led the American League Central for most of the season. They finished tied with the Boston Red Sox for the best record in baseball. And they led in all 4 games.

Sure, the Yankees won all 6 regular-season games between them. But the first 3, at Yankee Stadium, were very early on, before we realized what each team could do. And the last 3, at Jacobs Field, came when the Indians' best hitter, Travis Hafner, was on the disabled list. Hafner was a major factor in the series.

Throw in CC Sabathia surviving a shaky start in Game 1, Carmona pitching lights-out in Game 2, Paul Byrd pitching the game of his life in the biggest game of his career in Game 4, and the Cleveland bullpen not allowing a single run until late in Game 4, and you come to an inescapable conclusion:

The Yankees didn't get bugged, and they didn't choke. They got beat.

After all, if the Mets had made the Playoffs and lost the same way, few would think it was so bad. In fact, quite a few Met fans would have given a tooth or two to have their season end the way the Yankees' did, instead of they way their own did.

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